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One important distinction that this article misses completely is that Mr. Heymann is a civil service employee whereas Ms. Ortiz (his boss and supervisor) is a political appointee. The Executive branch is perfectly within it's rights to fire a political appointee at any time for any reason, but would have to show cause to terminate a civil servant. This system exists to prevent partisan patronage at the federal level from bringing the government down on a regular basis.

Paradoxically this means that any effort to remove Mr. Heymann is made more difficult by the existence of a qualified petition for his removal. He would have to have made overt and on the record declarations of ill intent and bad faith for the Obama administration to remove him at this point. Ms. Ortiz on the other hand, could be asked to depart at any point. Although it seems unlikely to happen before she testifies to congress, and is in any event unlikely to happen unless the Presidents political calculations suggest that her absence will allow him to access resources ( of political support ) that are necessary for him to achieve his agenda.




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